Scots Gap Auction Mart held its summer prize show and sale of prime sheep yesterday with, prior to the sale, a great entry of 42 separate entries put before Master Judge Fred Scott, of Tilesheds, Wooler.
This event was generously sponsored by Robson and Prescott Vets of Morpeth and the Dyke Neuk Pub and Restaurant, Meldon.
With the mart full of both sheep and folk, it was a cracking pen of five Texel crosses shown by Graham Common, Low Ardley, Hexham, that were eventually awarded the Overall Champion Rosette after the hard-fought breed classes.
The 41kg lambs took the first prize rosette in the Texel cross class held previously and were expertly presented as a level five, all of a similar shapely stamp and cleanly shown without keel or spray mark.
The sale of lambs was opened with the champion pen and swift bidding at the ringside saw the five purchased by buyer Jeff Dunn for £96/234.2ppkg on behalf of butcher Hugh Thompson, who will be pleased to offer his customers the chance to purchase cuts from these tremendous lambs at his Bellingham shop from early next week.
The reserve champion rosette was awarded to Melanie Carr, Homilton, for her thumping pen of 51kg Continental cross lambs which were sired by a Beltex cross Charollais Ram.
The massive lambs, in stark contrast to the champions at a full 10kg more, exhibited all the traits that can be achieved by the use of such a hybrid terminal sire and were also typical of the quality weighty lambs for which Scots Gap Mart and its consignors have become renowned.
These went on to sell for a worthy £96 per head and were purchased by buyer Ben Gray on behalf of Messrs A Traves & Sons, Meat Wholesalers, Escrick, York.
In only the second year of competition it was the newly- introduced YFC Prime Lamb Pairs that created most interest in the show alley.
Local publicans and brothers Darren and Steven Foster of the Dyke Neuk Pub and Restaurant, Meldon, Morpeth, kindly sponsored the class to support local farmers and were delighted to donate the fitting Dyke Neuk Tankard to be presented to the winner each year.
From a tremendous entry of 21 pairs of lambs of all breeds and weights, and an overall standard that would not have been out of place in any national fatstock show, it was a smart, broad- topped and full jiggeted pair of Texel cross lambs from James Walby, of East House Farm, Ponteland, that took the Dyke Neuk Tankard, Champion Rosette and £50 prize money.
James, a keen member of Stamfordham YFC, past Cambo member and current Northumberland County YFC junior vice-chairman, presented a great pair of lambs and took top place ahead of not only stiff competition from other young farmers but also from brother Matt, a regular consignor to the Scots Gap ring.
It was James’s lambs that went on to cause quite a stir in the sale ring and at 43kg attracted frantic bidding for the hammer to fall at ï¿½122 per head, equating to a noteworthy 283 pence per kilo.
These were purchased again by Jeff Dunn, this time on behalf of Thomas Stevenson of WMH Farm Fresh Meats which runs butchers’ shops in Haydon Bridge, Haltwhistle and Allendale.
Mr Stevenson said: “I am delighted to support the show at Scots Gap and in particular the YFC class as the young farmers of today will be the farmers of tomorrow.
“It is essential that such young people are encouraged to produce the best of British livestock which in turn local butchers can offer to the British public.”
The lambs will be offered for sale in the WMH Farm Fresh Meats shop in Haydon Bridge from next week.
Overall Champion Lambs – T Common & Son, Low Ardley.
Reserve Champion Lambs – R Carr, Homilton.
Champion Ewes – JR Thompson & Son, The Fawns (Texel cross)
Reserve Champion Ewes – Foley Bros, Mirlaw House (Suffolk cross)
YFC Champion Pair of Lambs – James Walby, East House
Texel cross class;
1st - T Common & Son, Low Ardley
2nd – JR Thompson, The Fawns
3rd – R Thornton & Sons, Cornhills
Suffolk cross class;
1st – D Brodie, The Chesters
2nd – J&E Walby & Sons, East House
3rd – JF Johnson & Son, Tuthill
Cont. cross/Other breed class;
1st – R Carr, Homilton (Beltex cross)
2nd – R & P O’Kane, Closehead (Beltex cross)
3rd – GN Potts & Son, Doe Hill (Lleyn cross)
YFC Pairs class;
1st – James Walby, East House
2nd – Claire Thompson, The Fawns
3rd – Jack Kelcher, South Linden.